Continuing the Sunday sermon series on prayer, our good friend Josh taught about one practical way to pray by meditating on Scripture. The three basic steps are to read, think, and pray. Using Scripture to inform and shape our prayers helps to keep our minds from wandering, helps us to pray more effectively, and helps us to benefit more from God's word. If you feel like your prayer life is floundering (and mine usually is!), I'd encourage you to listen to Josh's message and come up with a plan to meditate and pray.
Rather than going into all the details of my sermon notes, I thought I'd share my plan for reading Scripture and praying this year. I am using For the Love of God (Vol. 2) to guide me through the Bible. I've used Volume 1 of this set by D. A. Carson before, and I really like the format. Each day gives four passages of Scripture to read and a brief commentary on one of those passages. I take my time reading each chapter (usually two Old Testament and two New Testament), and once I finish reading a chapter I go back through it and write in a journal any verses that stood out to me. Then I write down some thoughts and prayers about how those verses relate to my life - how God is at work and how he calls me to respond to him. For me, writing keeps my prayers focused. Once I've completed all the reading for the day, my goal is to take about ten minutes to pray specifically for my husband and for our church. All told, the whole process lasts about 45 minutes to an hour (accompanied by breakfast and my hot drink of choice!). I hope that this plan bears much fruit and growth in my life and my prayers this year!